October 10, 2017

On September 25, 2017, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) awarded the Tennessee Parks & Greenways Foundation (TennGreen) funding to oversee habitat enhancement on the 5,200-acre Coal Creek Farms in Cumberland County.

The funding from the grant will allow George Lindemann, Jr., the landowner, to expand the current conservation activities on his property, including prescribed burning to enhance and create early successional habitat, planting of shortleaf pine, the treatment of hemlocks for hemlock woolly adelgid, and the construction of riparian fencing to exclude cattle from the streams. Lindemann has donated funding towards this initiative, and in partnership with TennGreen, the University of Tennessee’s Center for Native Grassland Management, and Panther Creek Forestry, he will undertake habitat enhancements to benefit the Watts Bar Lake watershed and species utilizing the Cumberland Plateau.

Lindemann has been an exceptional environmental leader and partner in Tennessee. In 2017, he was named “Conservationist of the Year” by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation. He also organized, funded and led a community-based effort to designate Soak Creek as a Tennessee Scenic River. Lindemann went on to donate 1,034 acres valued at more than $8.27 million to permanently protect Soak Creek by adding it to the Cumberland Trail State Park. The donation created more than five miles of protected riparian corridor and river trail to the park, and represents one of the largest private land donations in recent Tennessee history.

When asked why he chose this project and TennGreen as a partner, Lindemann stated that

“[TennGreen] is deeply committed to its mission, and they are also very passionate about Grassy Cove — where my farm is located. They have the experience and expertise to implement this important research project, and I am thrilled to be working with them and the University of Tennessee. It is an honor for me to host this effort at Coal Creek Farm. I hope we are able to learn and develop practices that will protect this beautiful eco-system. We all have a duty to be good environmental stewards and I am happy to do my part in Tennessee.”

Located adjacent to the Karst Forest (a 956-acre property that was protected by a TennGreen easement earlier this year), streams on Coal Creek Farms form the headwaters of Whites Creek which flows to Watts Bar Lake. This immense and scenic property abuts the Grassy Cove National Natural Landmark and land that will become part of the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park.

The grants were awarded through the Cumberland Plateau Stewardship Fund​, a public-private partnership between NFWF, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, International Paper’s Forestland Stewards partnership, Altria Group and the American Forest Foundation’s Southern Woods for At-Risk Wildlife partnership. This is the fifth year the fund has administered grant awards. 

“The 2017 grants from the Cumberland Plateau Stewardship Fund represent a continued commitment to restoring forest and freshwater habitats in one of the most biodiverse regions of the country,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO at NFWF.

“Our entire business depends on the sustainability of forests,” said Tom Cleves, International Paper’s vice president of global citizenship. “We are thrilled to team up with organizations that share our commitment to responsible forest management. By working together, we will continue to promote responsible forest stewardship and ensure healthy and productive forest ecosystems for future generations.”

Read the original article here.